Practical Steps To Have A Guilt-Free Vacation

We’ve all done it. We book a vacation, we keep it on the down low till we walk out of the door to leave, and then spend the whole vacation fighting a nagging feeling like you should check in with work. 

We are lucky enough to have a job where we are paid to take vacation so why do we always carry around a little rain cloud with us the whole time, feeling guilty for leaving? The fabulous Casey Van Zandt created a four part series to help us keep that guilt at bay while we’re on vacay! 

Many times we feel the need to keep our vacation secret and throw in a “Hey guys! I’ll be gone this next week, let me know if you need anything from me!” And then we scurry out the door before any more questions are asked. When we do this we are setting ourselves up for a vacation that’s anything but relaxing because we know we didn’t leave everything covered like we should have. Casey Van Zandt lays out a brilliant, actionable plan to take before and during your vacation to be sure you can enjoy that beach getaway.


You deserve this vacation

and breakfast in bed too!

First thing’s first - confront those stories swirling in your head that tell you you should freak out. Ask yourself WHY you have those thoughts and then disprove those thoughts and choose to believe it’s okay to be guilt-free because we all know you WORK all day, every day. (We’re pouring an extra glass of wine in our minds right now for all you working moms. You’re the real MVP.) 

Once you’ve proven to yourself that you need and deserve this vacation it’s time to find your buddy. This is either your boss, your assistant, or your colleague of equal rank. If this person isn’t your BFF already then they are about to be because this buddy is the person who is responsible for your tasks while you’re on vacation. You’ll need to talk to your buddy about what you’re expecting of them while you’re gone, as well as when/how to get in touch with you. Your buddy needs to know what qualifies as an “emergency” so that they know when it’s appropriate to contact you. Fill your boss in on who your buddy is so they know who to go to with any questions or issues. Don’t forget to also set an “out of office” auto response on your email. This response should mention the dates you will be gone, the date you are expected to return, as well as the email of your buddy if they need to contact someone immediately. 

So, now you’ve asked off, you’ve discredited the doubt in your mind, you’ve identified your buddy and set your “away” message. Next up - filling in the rest of your team! Don’t feel shy or awkward about letting people know you’re going on vacation. Inform your team well in advance of your plans and let them know how excited you are! No one needs to feel bad for taking some time to recharge. Be open about your vacation, inform them who your buddy is in case they need help, and let your team know what qualifies as an emergency in case you need to be reached. Continue to talk about your vacation till the day you leave, that way there’s no awkward sliding out the door and half the team won’t wonder where you are on Monday. 

The final step may be the hardest step - resisting the urge to check your email or check in with your team. It’s inevitable, after a few days you’re going to want to hop on and check your email “real quick” but 9 times out of 10, you’ll get sucked in something you see or someone who contacted you and before you know it you’re running a meeting in your bathing suit and half applied sunscreen on the balcony of your condo.

Vacations are meant to be a time when you unplug and relax. In fact, our productivity at work depends on it because let’s face it, our tank runs out sometimes! We need to recharge occasionally and that’s okay! So take that vacation, plan ahead and come back a new you, ready to work hard!


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